The head of the American Cancer Society rakes in how much money??
I read a report in the National Journal today detailing the salaries of executives at top trade associations and non-profit organizations. I suppose if the NFL owners want to pay Roger Goodell $11.5 million a year, it’s their money. Well, your money really — spent on bottomless cups of beer, tubs of peanuts and plenty of swag — but you get what I mean. It’s a free market. When it comes to charity organizations, though, I’m a little less Adam Smithy. Who knew how rewarding charity work could be — and I don’t mean spiritually or emotionally. Did you know that John Seffrin, the head of the American Cancer Society, makes $2,270,450 a year? (If you include bonuses and deferred compensation, it’s closer to $2.5 million.)
I give money to American Cancer Society. Or did. No more. I don’t think I’ll be running any Relays for Life either. They should consider changing the title to Relay for John.
Compared to the salaries of executives at top corporations, Seffrin’s isn’t mindblowng. However, he is one of the highest paid executives in Washington, D.C. — which ain’t nothing to sneeze at. But that’s not really the point. The American Cancer Society isn’t a corporation competing in the free market and it doesn’t get its money from dues-paying members. It gets its money from folks looking to find a cure for cancer and who are willing to donate to that cause. That’s what all the fundraising letters I receive say, anyway: Urgent, help us find a cure for cancer! They say nothing about the urgency of paying bloated salaries.
Even non-profits need paid staff if they are going to be successful, and the larger the organization the larger the overhead. So I’ve got no beef with reasonable expenses going towards overhead and administrative costs, including reasonable salaries. Two-and-a-half million dollars for one individual, however, raises a lot of questions about the ACS’s judgment. A couple million dollars could fund a lot of research programs. You have to wonder how much money ACS is spending on all the other executive salaries in its nationwide organization.You have to wonder just how much money ACS is spending on actual cancer research, too.
Does ACS need to pay top dollar to recruit top talent? I’m skeptical. Most people don’t get into charity work for the financial windfall. And in any case, as a (former) donor I don’t really give a damn. Call me selfish, but as a guy with cancer I’d like to see my donations “to help find a cure” go toward, well, finding a cure – for cancer, not John Seffrin’s golden parachute.